tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC February 17, 2013 11:00am-11:30am EST
>> this is "the chris matthews show." >> ask not what your country can do for you -- >> tear down this wall. >> i can hear you! >> our time for change has come! chris: walking on air. barack obama this week came before america as the most popular kid in class. but he hasn't wooed everyonement republicans seem bent on jamming him on all fronts and off to a quick start. stalling the president's pentagon choice. who's got it about america, him or them? back on march. market on a tear, way up at 14,000. but that schedule add cross-the-board spending cut that seems unthinkable is now assumed. seriously, are we looking at first of march calamity? finally, guns and race. half of white men in america own guns.
do you believe it? barack obama lost two-thirds of white men who didn't go to college, first wipeout since walter mondale lost 49 states to 1. can the president ever crack through that? hi, i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. with us today presidential historian michael beschloss. cook political report amy walter. "the washington post's" henderson and "the new york times"'s david henderhard. have the republicans turn turned up the heat on barack obama now even before he won re-election? we saw in there temporary the defeat of chuck hagel's nomination, leaving the president without a pentagon secretary and there seems to be more where that came from. we decide to look at how this past tuesday, state of the union day played out starting with valerie jarrett on "morning joe" making the case there for bipartisanship. here she was at dawn. >> he's determined to work and move our country forward. chris: not so fast. three hours later kelly
o'donnell on nbc. >> the president had some sharp words. here's the key quote -- don't think he's got the guts to do it. chris: later that afternoon in the fight over chuck hagel, two republicans questioned the loyalty of vietnam vet hagel. >> we saw with his nomination something truly extraordinary, the government of iran formally and publicly praising the nomination of a defense secretary. >> i would say he's endorsed by them. you can't get any closeyer then that. chris: that was the backdrop by 9:00 that night when the president told the same republicans the country expects more. >> they don't expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. but they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party. chris: that was the presint, michael, but historically speaking, you're the expert. why does the president speak so grandly of bipartisanship? and a new day has dawned and so
many in the republican party seem to say no, tpwhever had an election. there's still a divide? >> he said because the party does not have the house. probably talking very differently if they did. the other thing, chris, especially after re-election, the opposition party is usually pretty angry they lost it. 1937 republicans tried to cut down franklin roosevelt in congress, bringing his mandate down to size. democrats try to do the same thing to richard nixon in '73, even before watergate. chris: you think it's a normal pattern? everyone agree we're watching normal intransigence? i'm watching them fight this hagel nomination so far successfully. they don't seem like they're in awe of the president at all. >> no, but i think it's weakened a little bit. the unanimousty of republicans weakened. we saw republicans break off agree on the fiscal cliff deal. we saw breakoff on the sandy aid and starting to see some break off on immigration. it's certainly true they continue to be very hard on the president but not quite as hard as they were much of the first
term. >> we know historically, the second -- chris: you know being in the cook report that's the hardest job in the world, get re-elect your party -- >> re-elected. if you then are showing all of your time as opposition party to soften up democrats, not about the president now, it's about the party and taking control of the senate. chris: let's take in the most vivid example this week, hagel, secretary of defense. serious business. the knockdown when the president was chosen people the people saying this is american for defending this country and they just jam him. >> i mean, there's a grab bag of grievance, i think republicans have against hagel. some of it that he broke with them on iraq. some of it that's is that he -- chris: that's why obama picked him? >> he endorsed obama pretty much in 2008. some around benghazi, even though he had nothing to do with benghazi. there had been a band of brothers. chris: why the unity against him? >> some of the unity also has to do with republicans wanting to flex their muscle on foreign
policy. they haven't had many victories in terms of a lot of foreign policy, a lot of their policies have been discreditted by what we have seen over the last years in terms of the prosecution of the war on terror. so i think that's it. but i also think obama didn't do himself any favors by picking hagel. in some ways he's the only guy that wants hagel. democrats are not that excited about having hagel there. republicans are not happy. they want to drag it out. chris: what are you hearing from your reporters? >> i think that's right. the sense is he will be confirmed but there's still more time so we don't know what could happen. something new could come out. >> absolutely. >> change. chris: i think there may be a brilliant strategy. slow it down, slow it down, hope something breaks. bad news comes out of the woodwork. let's talk about something coming up on the subject of the march 1 showdown known as sequester. you wrote your new e-book called "here's the deal" in part, quote, democrats have gone on record as accepting a much longer list of specific
debt-reduction measures but most democrats have not levels with voters about the need to choose between tax increases not just on the rich and spending cuts. david, i think they all play this game. i was telling before you the show they shop. voters say who's the toughest on defense? republicans. who's the best on tax cuts? republicans. who do i want to protect mother or own medicare for every test i want, every option i want? democrats. spread it around and expect huge debt. >> that's exactly right. we're not going to solve the deficit until we have essentially a voting public that rewards people for either cutting benefits, medical or social security and raising taxes. right now we're not at the point -- maybe we don't need to be because the deficit is not an immediate cry suss but we're not of the point we're willing to vote for people who are either going to do real cutting of spending or real raising of taxes. that's not the other guy. cut his or her benefits and raise his taxes. it's got to affect us as well. we're not there yet. chris: do we need to cut the zphet
>> we need to cut the debt long term. national debt is a level that is scary. it is going to grow in coming years of the baby boomers. do we need to cut it today with the economy still as weak as it is? no, we don't. the idea debt is a problem and manufactured -- chris: everybody get in on this. who gets hurt if we have a situation at the end of this month, march 1, where there's a huge cut in government spending. watch what happens and we lose a lot of pentagon jobs. a lot of people out of work. stop by and stores closed, supporting organizations and some contractors are out of work. who gets blamed, president or republicans in congress? >> in the end i think the president. we americans under this habit of thinking i think the presidents have too much -- deserve too much for a good economy and too much blame for a bad economy. what a president does is pretty important but not as important as sometimes other factors. chris: if we have a shutdown or second recession or something like it, double dip, who gets hurt? >> republicans believe your theory, michael, it's the
president. the buck stops with him. fundamentally -- >> chris: he's the one scared of this sequester more than anybody it seems. >> but at the same time they also know this is a republican party with the 24% approval rating going against a president with the 50-something percent approval rating. when it's the battle of the bully pulpit versus people with a 24% approval rating, bully pulpit can be very effective. chris: can i ask you a question? totally cosmetic. i watched the stadium, like we all did, every second of it. why was boehner always purposely dour? never smiled own once. >> i was going to say n. a focus group of walmart moms who watched it they said the exact same thing. they said, damn, that boehner just looked like a petulant child behind him. so they're picking up on regular people picking up on the body language. they also understand the republican party, brand if tself right now is much more about obstruction. they don't stand for something that is, you know, a policy
area. especially on the economy that they agree with. >> i think democrats may have benefited. you heard president obama in the state of the union talking about raising minimum wage to $9. probably won't happen. that tab low of seeing democrats stand and cheer at the $9 and republicans sit and say essentially they wouldn't want that -- chris: gained them. >> gained them. they have a credible argument. chris: but they looked like 47% haters again. >> you hear from smart republicans we have to get over obama. we're never going to run against him again. at the state of the union they didn't seem to be over obama at all. it was not just boehner but how much rubio's speech, forget about the water, how much rubio's speech sounded like an election year speech. chris: the country may be all afraid but republican office holders seem to be down the line from cornyn, all of them, to the right wing threat. unless you're particularly nasty to the president, they're afraid you're his friend. charlie crist and gene shsubmit. smile or hug the guy, dare touch him, will he kill you.
>> that's why he went so light on the immigration speech. he knows to get a bill, he can't be too close to it. >> in the reality if you look at the house, 15 house g.o.p. members that are sit-in districts obama won. 15 tout of 234 so there isn't a lot of incentive for republicans to cooperate. chris: the mood of the country, figure the reason we have social hostility in a lot of the country, people are afraid. who am i afraid of? they get angry at that person. anger comes from fear. is that what's going on? what are right wing people if you vote right wing, without cast ago spergses, what are they afraid of, demographic change? >> i think demographic change say lot of it. will you hear republicans say all over the country last year san election we thought we would win, thought we should win, why didn't we? and they're angry at the fact that didn't happen. chris: voters are like that too? >> absolutely. chris: i will tell you harsh reality for people like me to accept, this is the end of the season tonight for "downton
abbey." we adore its beauty. feel a part of the time not so long ago but really distant from our own world. celebrate upstairs and downstairs character horse do pull together. we love seeing those trappings of the gracious world of those stately homes. our love of the show gave rise to plate of fancy hoor. our producers thought, what would it look like if we paired iconic opening theme of downton abby with footage of the stately home, our own white house? what you're about to see is assembled when the white house youtube channel all the way from the kitchen there to the oval office. for all of you "downton abbey" fans, here's what that looks like, married to the theme of downton itself.
vote. chris: welcome back. that was the president's plea for simple vote even on gun control. as amy walter notes in her new political report, cook political report, the assault weapons bass, 46 house republicans voted yes, that could not happen today. here's the story, three-quarters of republicans say the government wants to deny their right to own a gun. highest rate is among southern white men. 64%. barack obama lost noncollege white men by historic margins. democrat hasn't done as badly with them since walter mon mondale. here's how wane lapierre is using statistics. he wrote this online this week. it's not paranoia to buy a gun, it's survival. after hurricane sandy, looters ran wild in south brooklyn. better get back before dark, are or you might not get home at all. amy, pretty ethnic appearance in there. talks about border crossers, not
against government anymore, it's against people. >> demographics of this are very interesting. first, we know demographics now have become proxy for voting behavior. white southern married men, republicans, hispanics, african-americans, lowest rates of gun ownership, democrats. 50% of white men owning guns, another group of voters that will consistently go for republicans -- chris: why did he tie together and nick fear with the fear of immigration. all of that fear of the government shutdown. tied it all together la bee area f. you're afraid of this stuff, vote for the n.r.a. >> they say the folks who want to take guns away are liberal leets, writing laws and look down on you. the eered, elitist, so much of this talking about physically
getting guns that is cultural. >> the president did say during the campaign cling to their guns and religion. >> oddly enough opposite of 40 years ago. you listen to richard nixon on secret tapes he's saying things i'm for gun control and the way i will do it, scare all of the white voters about the black panthers. chris: and it worked. safe streets act. >> i think there's a mismatch with how people actually live and how people actually want to think about the country. if you look at the border for instance, look at brooklyn and what happened during hurricane sandy, there wasn't any rash of looting and rash of stealing. i don't know if this is going to work. wayne lapierre. chris: i have not seen a republican stand up and say i disagree with wayne lapierre in the media. >> there are two issues here. we will not get a sweeping gun control bill because politics are such we're not.
but the question of can wayne lapierre help republicans build a big collision across issues. there i agree with mia i don't that i will happen. i think that's older america. really -- chris: you're smart but could it be short road strategy? everyone know there's a small window because of what happened in connecticut, maybe few months. if he can jam the next couple months with fear and spread that around, win the next couple months or won the battle. this is the time for gun control or never. it works. >> i'm not sure this strategy helps him anymore above what he's already got politically. chris: every gun guy of the gun sort, real gun fanatics all voted against obama. >> this is the problem. have you people saying barack obama is elected by a flike and that tends to overturn
chris: welcome back. michael, tell me something don't know. >> history says the republicans have a much better chance to win the presidency in four years then people think. look at after 1964, great article this month by peter waner and michael gers about how to bring the republican party back by studying of all people, bill clinton, their pariah of 15
years ago. >> all right. frank lautenberg announced his retirement this week. we hear so much about polarization in crong, blame it on redistricting. one thing to look at is the number of freshmen or first-term senators. my colleague, the cook political report, looked at the numbers, amazing. by 2015 we could have half of the senate elected since 2008. so when all of us talk about, remember in the old days when they would sit down and work these things out, there's nobody left from the old days. democrat and kentucky worried about ashley dud candidacy. kneel like they might have a chance if they can have a conservative democrat run against mitch mcconnell. chris: ashley judd is a native and will take on the senate leader? >> possibly. and you're seeing they're feeling perhaps they can goad her into running. chris: they're going to kill her. they're going to kill home run. movie star in kentucky. >> guns, immigration, hakele.
huge issue over the next few months is voting. few lines in the state of the union. twice as many democrats waited half hour as republicans were going to have a supreme court case. that's going to affect elections for years to come. watch what goes on. consider can the federal government really get into elections? >> they can do some things around edges but your question is right. key thing is what happens in the states here. chris: when we come back, i love it, some of the biggest movies this year as you all know have been history movies. "lincoln," and others. what movie is becking to be made that -- begging to be made that hasn't been made yet? we have the hottest pitches.
raid and britain's king george. which brings us to the big question, what in contemporary america do you think would make a hit movie? >> george washington. never successful bio film about him. guy that comes into the country in danger of diing in its cradle and decides to lead it, unify the country. chris: george washington, right out of today's newspapers. amy walters, that was the way-back machine. >> let's remake "oregon" late '80's movie about matthew broderick and kids that were hackers who get into the pentagon, almost start world are war iii against our soviet nemesis. now we know we do have real war games. we have real wars. china, u.s. irkse ran. -- iran. >> i think of a movie version of "homeland."
war on terror over the last 10, 12 years, who are the people making decisions of what we have given up and gained in terms of safety. >> i want to see "the security" the movie. matters hugely, "supreme court the movie" give us the health care bill or bush v gore. mandy and antonin scalia and all kinds of good stuff behind the scenes and americans would see it. chris: they did it back the 1954 case. >> long time ago. chris: grave movie. thanks to great round table. you're on timeout leo! some things won't last 25 years.